By Michael Silver, Yahoo! Sports
Aug 5, 10:44 pm EDT
There have been numerous tactical missteps made by Favre and the bosses he publicly suggested are dishonest – general manager Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy – during this month-long saga, and Packers fans have a right to be frustrated at both camps. But if you believe that the quarterback soon will be leaving Green Bay, most likely via trade to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, because those merciless meanies just didn’t want poor ol’ Brett around, you’ve got more than cheese clouding your head.
As McCarthy stated in his news conference after Tuesday’s practice, and as Favre himself had stated more clearly in his latest woe-is-me interview (this one to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen) earlier that morning, the reason the future Hall of Famer couldn’t come back to the Pack was that he can’t let go of his ill will toward his employers.
Rodgers, meanwhile, has every right to be bitter about the way things went down since Favre stepped onto the tarmac at Austin Straubel Airport on Sunday night. Yet he’s the one biting his lip and acting like the adult.
Let’s see it from his perspective: After waiting three years for his shot, and without much warmth or mentoring from the guy he was playing behind, Rodgers finally was told he was The Man after Favre’s tearful retirement news conference in March. Shortly before training camp, a story surfaced that Favre had the itch to return. Favre, via text message, dismissed the report as “just rumors,” which was a lie.
After floating his desire to come out of retirement, Favre waited for Thompson and McCarthy to embrace him as the reinstalled starter, just as he so often has demanded to be indulged over the latter part of his career. This time, they didn’t respond positively – partly because they didn’t believe he wanted to come back and play, partly because they already had committed to Rodgers and didn’t want to destroy their relationship with a talented quarterback they had spent years grooming, and partly because they were tired of being in a subservient position.
Favre got more and more resentful, lashing out publicly and privately demanding to be released. The team held firm, insisting that it would only trade him to a team outside its division. To force the issue – and thanks largely to the intervention of commissioner Roger Goodell – Favre secured his reinstatement, flew to Green Bay and, in a shameless bit of showmanship, showed up at Lambeau Field with his wife Deanna to watch the team’s “Family Night” scrimmage from a luxury box.
In that glorified 11-on-11 drill, with some of the 56,000-plus fans booing him, Rodgers completed just 7 of 20 passes. Afterward, he fielded questions from reporters and learned – from them – that the Packers supposedly had declared an open competition between him and Favre for the starting job.
“It was news to me,” Rodgers admitted Tuesday. “All of a sudden people are talking about ‘open competition,’ and I’m wondering what happened.”
For the next day and a half, Rodgers, like the rest of us, wondered what it all meant when Packers CEO Mark Murphy said the team would welcome Favre back “and turn this situation to our advantage.”
On Monday night, as Favre was staging meetings with his superiors that dragged on so long that McCarthy had to cancel a quarterbacks meeting, it certainly didn’t seem that things were working to Rodgers’ advantage.
Nonetheless, publicly and privately, Rodgers did what Favre can’t seem to do these days: He kept his cool.
“If I was going to get mad, or throw something against the wall, what difference would it have made?” Rodgers asked rhetorically. “All I can do is control the attitude I bring into every day, stay positive and think about leading this football team to the best of my ability.”
Favre, meanwhile, couldn’t overcome the negativity that apparently has been swirling inside his mind for quite some time. In that lengthy vent session last month to Greta Van Susteren of Fox News, Favre complained that he couldn’t trust Thompson because, among other things, the GM had ignored his pleadings to acquire Randy Moss and hired McCarthy over Steve Mariucci, the one-time Packers assistant and former 49ers and Lions coach with whom the quarterback is extremely close.
Think about that: Favre was affronted because the Pack’s general manager wouldn’t follow his quarterback’s decree about whom to hire as head coach.
The Packers hired former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer as a PR consultant, but in truth, Favre is the one more in need of such image management.
Consider that Favre, in another interview, said he only wanted to play for another NFC North team – in order to play the Packers twice a season.
Now that’s loyalty.